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Look To What Is

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A must read for those of us interested in what is and where we are going...

What newsrooms should learn from Kodak by Steve Yelvington, 07-January-2011.

...not for answers but for twisting perspective from what appears to be to what is.


So Kodak, the company that invented amateur photography in the 19th century and invented digital photography in the 20th, is on the ropes.


Your business isn't what you think it is. Kodak at its peak looked like a photography company, but it was really a giant chemical manufacturing company. Digital tech rendered the entire chemical photography business irrelevant. ...newspapers looked like news and information companies, but they were really expensive commercial advertisement printing and delivery systems.


Brands decay. When I started in photography, Kodak was the trusted source. ... In a digital world, Kodak's brand means little.


Early to market doesn't mean you win. ... Kodak was an early mover. So were newspapers, which had online products before the Web existed.


Disruption doesn't happen just once. On the digital side, Kodak initially pivoted quite well... But suddenly smartphone cameras have autofocus lenses, 8-megapixel sensors and HDTV video capability. Result: the low-end market is toast, and Kodak isn't taken seriously in the high end... Newspapers have seen a similar thing happen with classified advertising...


If you clear out the assumptions, what's left may be easier to understand. Businesses still need convey offers to consumers ... digital technology has chopped the audience up... Pulling audiences back together creates value. Make that your goal...



Not a new insight; I've read similar thoughts over the years but as they tend to fall on deaf ears I figured why not twist the kaleidoscope one more time... Know yourself, know your business, know your niche, know your market... and try not to be too distracted from what each really is.

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Not a new insight;


Here's a little something. The MBA, as developed, was designed for just this outcome.


It's fine for the steady state past. Hindrance for the turbulent now.


Admisnistrators of the status quo. Curators of the museum of past success. Defenders against change (hence change management, like you're managing your cholesterol). That's what MBA's are designed for -- steady state 1950s corporate America. Kodak sat on its patent hoard and milked the status quo. Idea for a steady state. Disasterous for a changing state.

Edited by DCrx

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It might seem, though, that it's not pulling audience together, but about reinventing the market yet again. Then again, I'm not entirely sure what the author meant by this: I'm sure Kodak could reenergize the film users, if it wanted to.


Maybe, the alternative of becoming a small company and serving a small, but dedicated audience, is a choice that can be made. Why build a hippopotamus, if you can easily manage a small company and enjoy doing it?


Then again, this move isn't for everyone. Just look at Apple ;)

Edited by A.N.Onym

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